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Sunday, 18 November, 2001, 08:02 GMT
HIV health worker 'in privacy fight'
The HIV virus could be transmitted to patients
An HIV-infected NHS specialist has begun legal proceedings to stop his former patients being told he has the potentially fatal disease, it has been reported.

The health worker, who cannot be identified - even by his branch of medicine, has started a High Court bid to prevent the NHS from notifying thousands of people about the situation.

The Mail on Sunday says it know who the man is but has been ordered by a judge not to name him.

The specialist was diagnosed as HIV positive several months ago after falling ill.

The man, known as H, has not practised since discovering he was infected and has no plans to return to work.

Human rights

But he is attempting to stop the health authority involved from carrying out a 'look back' exercise to notify patients of their exposure to the risk of HIV infection.

For this to take place the specialist would have to release confidential patient information, and the Data Protection Act prevents him handing over computer records of 2,000 private patients he has treated over 10 years.

He also claims he has a personal right to privacy and has won an injunction to protect his privacy, under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Arguing that readers have the right to be aware of any danger to their health, the paper insists that: "The Human Rights Act should be repealed before it causes any more human wrongs."

According to the Department of Health there has been one case in America of a dentist transmitting the HIV infection to a patient, and the same incident happened in France between an orthopaedic surgeon and a patient.

A spokeswoman said: "The Department of Health has been notified of a High Court hearing involving a HIV infected health worker and once that judgement is received we will consider fully the public health issues that it raises."

See also:

12 Jan 01 | Health
HIV nurses 'pose no risk'
06 Oct 00 | Health
Scare over HIV dental worker
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